Thursday, March 21, 2013

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Image from
Simon and Schuster, 1983.

Alanna and her twin brother, Thom, know that their father wouldn’t listen if they tried to tell him they didn’t like the futures he has chosen for them. So the two redheaded 11 year olds hatch a plan. Thom, not Alanna, will go to the convent to be a priest and learn to use his magic and Alanna will go to the big city of Corus to be a page and train to be a knight. With her hair cut short and dressed in her brother’s clothes Alanna becomes Alan of Trebond and throws herself into the grueling work of learning to be a champion of Tortall. Will Alanna be able to hide her secret from her new friends? Will she figure out why she’s had visions of a city made of shiny, black stone? Is it in her destiny to become a knight?

This book is the first in a quartet of books that follow Alanna’s adventures from page to knighthood. It’s also the first book to take place in the fantastical world of Tortall. As the story unfolds Pierce fleshes out the details of this world of knights and dukes, thieves and magicians. However, the descriptions are a natural part of the narrative and the focus remains firmly on the story of good versus evil. The characters are diverse and well-rounded and Alanna is a likable, spunky protagonist. Pierce also deals with Alanna’s discovery of her menstrual cycle in a very direct, yet story-specific manner. Alanna’s story is one of female empowerment in a male dominated world. A great recommendation for readers looking for a wonderful fantasy story with a strong female character.

Read an excerpt of the book and get pulled into this great adventure.

*Alanna’s story is continued in the other books in The Song of the Lioness quartet:

*Finished all The Song of the Lioness quartet books? These series by Pierce follow new characters, but are all set in Tortall:

*If you want to move beyond Tortall, try the following fantasy books, also by Pierce:

*Check out Pierce’s website for a list of her books in the chronological order in which they take place.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

Age 11+ / Grade 6+


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